Tuesday, September 13, 2005

10 reasons why we beat the Aussies!

1. A mix of aggression and skill
From the moment that Simon Jones hurled the ball into Hayden’s chest in the one dayer the tone was set. England were not about to meekly lie down for Australia this time round and the rest of the team rallied behind one another in every instance. The skill in scoring quickly and then restricting the opposition meant that with the exception of the Lord’s test we were always on the front foot. There weren’t many sessions that England didn’t win.

2. It was truly a team effort
Although it took until day one in the 3rd test for a ton to be scored; every player at some point in the series stood up and said “this is my time to shine”. Strauss with the bat (twice), Vaughan (who had previously been out of sorts), Freddie (with bat and ball), Pietersen (on his debut no less), Giles (after much criticism at Lords), Hoggard (with his ability to get wickets when the aussies were looking set), Harmisson (at Edgbaston when it looked like it was gone) and lastly Jones with his stifling reverse swing. The workload and subsequent success was truly shared.

3. Australia
proved beatable
The Twenty20 game was a bit of marketing fun, but you can tell that England really wanted it, and it meant that we scored the early mental advantage. From them on morale sapping losses against Somerset and Bangladesh followed and Australia could no longer conceal the fact that they were beatable.

4. The country wanted it
Record crowds, fifth day queues, Jerusalem belted out on full volume, cricket knocking football off the back pages. The nation went cricket mad and the players had no option but to avoid letting us down.

5. Reverse swing
We swung it, they didn’t. Jones and Freddie dined at the table.

6. England put runs on the board
First innings scores of 407, 444, 477 & 373 meant that we we always had an early but firm hold of each test. The Australians were always playing catch up and eventually that wears you down.

7. We picked only 12 men
It would have been truly historic if Simon Jones had played in the final test and who would have expected that after the first test hammering? The selectors stood by the likes of Bell, Jones and Pietersen and how the players repaid that faith. Consistency builds team spirit, generates confidence and allows players to play with a sense of freedom. You could see that in all the squad.

8. We targeted their best players
Vaughan and Fletcher obviously did their homework here were well thought out plans for Hayden, Gilchrist and Ponting which worked and so England were able to restrict and then rip the heart out of the Australian team on a regular basis.

9. Australia
dropped catches
The most English of diseases and how the aussies suffered. Too many England players were given extra lives and then made them pay for it.

10. Freddie Flintoff
What more can I say?

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